My devotional reading this morning was as powerful as it was simple, reminding me of the two days I never have to worry about: YESTERDAY and TOMORROW. The key phrase was insightful:
When I am anxious it is because I am living in the future. When I am depressed it is because I am living in the past. (“Jimmy R.”)
This phrase reminds me of the title of the 1967 Moody Blues Album: “Days of Future Passed,” with the hauntingly beautiful “Nights in White Satin” and upbeat “Tuesday Afternoon”.
Not only did it break new ground as a ‘concept’ album symphonically recorded and lived out in one magical day, it actually helped relieve my anxiety and depression during my early 70’s college years. I can now say, growing one day at a time in sobriety and serenity, that anxiety about the future or depression from the past are merging into a grateful present. By the grace of God, lived out in active recovery, these are the days in which the future has passed into the present. I am learning to live more fully in the present with child-like-faith-and-wonder! I can remind myself that the roller coaster of unbalanced mental and emotional chaos is directly related to the amount of time I choose to live in the past or future?
Yesterday my friend gave me a copy of the recent “Newsweek” magazine where the front cover and lead story are about the REALITY of Heaven, written by a doctor who was clinically dead and went ‘beyond and back.’ One of my favorite, and life-changing parallel accounts is Rebecca Ruth Springer’s “Within Heaven’s Gates,” recounting a very similar (eternal) experience.
I believe one of the greatest blessings of heaven will be the absence of time, living in the eternal moment—always in the present—always NOW. I have experienced a fleeting taste of such timelessness during a high point in worship, or from an inspirational work of art, or lost in a conversation with a friend. My God is the great I AM! This is “The NOW, not Yet.” To be in the presence of God is to be released from being held hostage to time. The two days I do not have to worry about, learning to place them in the hands of my LOVING GOD, are YESTERDAY and TOMORROW. But just giving God my problems and dirty laundry for cleaning is not enough. He gives me the desire and strength to place my entire being in His loving hands.
I also know that when I finally take time to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the living bread of my daily reflections, the Spirit often uses them to feed others. Why do I forget this so often??? This morning I briefly stopped by the men’s recovery housing unit and ran into a client I had come to know a little better this past summer, teaching him and others in recovery the mechanics of wheel thrown pottery. As we spoke, he was filled with anxiety. He is graduating soon but has no place to go or any plans for the future. He was blaming the very system that freely gave him many months of room and board and the opportunity to begin a new life. I was able to listen to him, read him the opening phrase from my devotions, sharing how God has and is working in his life the way He is in my own. I mentioned a few names of past clients he knew that had transitioned successfully to the outside and assured him that I would ask a recovery friend who just bought a new home and is looking to rent out the furnished basement. He was listening and encouraged, even though it was simply ‘one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.’
Nothing is wasted . . .everything is recycled in the Hands of an awesome, loving God! The sins of our past, causing anxiety for our future, are not multiplied! They are washed away through the blood of the cross, the empty tomb and a Savior that lives with us in real time now and eternal time then! This recycled, too good to be true existence is our for the taking—ours for the asking,helping us replace our anxiety and depression with a Living Hope!